If you’re like most people, you were reminded (more than a few times) during childhood of the importance of eating your veggies, specifically the green ones.
Unfortunately, most kids (heck, most adults) don't consume enough of the green stuff, due to not liking the taste or texture. Rest assured, it is possible to make greens taste delicious, but that's a discussion for another day.
You might be shocked to learn that only about 9% of US adults consume enough vegetables daily, and a mere 12.2% consume the recommended amounts of fruit. <1>
The problem with this is that research indicates that consuming sufficient quantities of vegetables and fruit help reduce the number of diseases and disorders, including <2,3,4>:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- High Blood Cholesterol
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Part of the reason fruits and vegetables help reduce the risk of disease and mortality may be due to their high micronutrient content (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc.).
Due to the importance that fruit and vegetable intake appears to play in promoting health and wellness, greens powder supplements have been created to help the masses boost their intake of these micronutrient-rich foods.
Today, we take a closer look at what green supplements are, what are the potential benefits of greens supplements, and what our favorite greens product is.
Let’s start at the top.
What are Greens Supplements?
Greens powder supplements are dietary supplements containing a blend of freeze-dried green vegetables.
Greens powders also usually contain other micronutrient-rich freeze-dried powders, such as "reds" (fruits), mushrooms, or other "superfoods" (marketing jargon for micronutrient-rich fruits and vegetables).
Like other powdered supplements, greens powders are intended to be mixed into water and other liquid.
Since dried, powdered greens aren't exactly the most delicious concoction on the planet, supplement manufacturers will add a combination of sweeteners and other flavoring agents to improve the taste.
Since greens powders contain green vegetables, the color of the products when mixed in solution is typically green or reddish purple (if reds are included in the formula).
What Foods Are in Greens Powder Supplements?
The exact contents of each greens powder will vary by brand, but they typically include some of the following “green” foods:
- Leafy Greens: Spinach, Parsley, Kale
- Seaweed: Spirulina, Chlorella, Kelp
- Grasses: Wheatgrass, Alfalfa Grass, Barley Grass
- Other Vegetables: Broccoli, Carrots, Cabbage, Sweet Potato
Other popular additions to greens powders (that aren’t necessarily green in color) are:
- Fruits: Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Cherries
- Digestive Enzymes: Bromelain, Papain, Actinidain, Cellulase, etc.
- Probiotics: Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus, L. acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis
- Mushrooms: Lion’s Mane, Maitake, Shiitake, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail
- Extra Fiber: Sunfiber®, Inulin, Apple Fiber
To make the powder used in these supplements, whole foods are typically freeze-dried, dehydrated (dried), and then ground into a powder.
How To Use Green Superfood Powder?
Supplements cannot take the place of hard training, adequate sleep, or proper diet. As such, don't look to your greens powder supplement as some "savior" for a poor diet that is lacking in fruits and vegetables.
However, there are those times when you're traveling or caught up in the minutiae of daily life, and you might come up a bit "short" in regard to your greens intake.
Having a high-quality greens supplement may help “fill in the gaps” in these situations. And, if you’re already consuming a fair amount of plant foods, you can look at a greens supplement as “icing on the cake.”
In regard to "nutrient timing," there is no ideal time to consume a greens supplement. You can drink it whenever you like.
However, most people don't want to slam down a mouthful of greens immediately before attacking a heavy workout.
As such, we like to consume our greens powder with a meal (preferably a few hours outside of our workout window).
We’d also suggest not mixing your greens powder with a heated liquid as high temperatures can degrade certain minerals and vitamins.
What are the Potential Benefits of Greens Powder?
High in Micronutrients
Greens powders tend to contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and different antioxidants. Now, how the greens were processed (freeze-dried, heat dried, etc.) will affect the micronutrient content of each greens superfood powder, but by and large most companies these days are using freeze-dried greens.
May Support Digestive Health
As we mentioned above, greens powders contain other ingredients beyond greens. In the event your greens supplement provides either added fiber, digestive enzymes, or probiotics, it may aid digestion and support gut health.
Many greens supplements claim to help “detoxify” the body and/ or “balance pH.”
The truth is that the body tightly regulates blood pH. This is one of the reasons alkaline water is a giant hoax.
Now, in regard to detoxifying the body, greens powders may indirectly support various detox pathways in the body due to their antioxidant content.
For instance, the liver is one of the primary “detox” organs in the body. Greens powders are typically rich in micronutrients and antioxidants, which may help neutralize free radicals and combat oxidative stress.
What is the Best Green Superfood Powder?
There are an awful lot of greens powder supplements on the market, each with their selling points.But, our preferred option is Steel Greens™.
Steel Greens™ is a micronutrient-dense greens and reds powdered complex formulated to complement your daily fruit and vegetable intake and support an active lifestyle.
Not only does Steel Greens™ supply high-quality greens and reds, but it also tastes delicious.
No longer do you have to suffer the putrid taste and texture of substandard greens powders.
With Steel Greens™, you get quality ingredients alongside delicious taste and texture.
The Bottom Line on Greens Powder Supplements
Drinking a daily serving of greens powder does not absolve you of the need to consume sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables each day.
After all, you can't out-supplement a poor diet, inadequate training, or poor sleep.
But, we all have those days when we might come up a little short on our macronutrient and micronutrient targets. Greens powder supplements may help “fill in the gaps” in these instances (similar to a multi-vitamin powder).
If you consistently consume copious amounts of plant foods (> 10 servings of fruits and veggies per day), then supplementing with a greens powder will likely not be needed.
- Lee-Kwan SH, Moore LV, Blanck HM, et al. Disparities in state-specific adult fruit and vegetable consumption — United States, 2015. MMWR. 2017;66:1241–1247.
- Aune D, Giovannucci E, Boffetta P, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality-a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Int J Epidemiol. 2017;46(3):1029–1056. doi:10.1093/ije/dyw319
- Liu, S., Serdula, M., Janket, S.-J., Cook, N. R., Sesso, H. D., Willett, W. C., … Buring, J. E. (2004). A Prospective Study of Fruit and Vegetable Intake and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women. Diabetes Care, 27(12), 2993 LP – 2996. https://doi.org/10.2337/diacare.27.12.2993
- Nour M, Lutze SA, Grech A, Allman-Farinelli M. The Relationship between Vegetable Intake and Weight Outcomes: A Systematic Review of Cohort Studies. Nutrients. 2018;10(11):1626. Published 2018 Nov 2. doi:10.3390/nu10111626